Five Places to Discover Amazing Sand Dunes in Michigan

It’s no secret that Michigan is home to some beautiful places – from sandy beaches and amazing forests to crisp, blue water and massive sand dunes! Michigan has more than 300,000 acres of sand dunes that offer breathtaking views or thrilling experiences across the state, some of which have been getting national acclaim for their beauty.

Take a look at the roundup below and watch the Dunes in Michigan video from our summer video series to learn more about some of the many sand dunes across the state. 

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Empire
Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore encompasses a 60 km (35 mi.) stretch of Lake Michigan’s eastern coastline, as well as North and South Manitou Islands. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park was established primarily for its outstanding natural features, including forests, beaches, dune formations and ancient glacial phenomena. Named by Good Morning America as “The Most Beautiful Place in America” and voted one of America’s Top 10 Family Destinations by Family Fun magazine, the Sleeping Bear Dunes are a must see destination. More information about tours, trails and more can be found here.

Saugatuck Dunes State Park
Saugatuck
The Saugatuck Dunes State Park is a day-use park along a secluded strip of Lake Michigan shoreline, Saugatuck Dunes State Park offers 2.5 miles of shore line. The park has fresh water coastal dunes that are over 200 feet tall. The park’s terrain varies from steep slopes to rolling hills. Visit the website for more information.

Grand Sable Banks and Dunes
Munising
Located about one mile west Grand Marais; the best place to view is from the trail beginning at the Sable Falls parking area. Another access point for the dunes is from the North Country Trail, one-quarter mile east of the Log Slide. Please stay on the trail as the dunes vegetation is fragile. Five square miles of Grand Sable Dunes are perched atop the 300-foot high Grand Sable Banks. Left by enormous glaciers, the Grand Sable Dunes dwarf comprehension. A portion of the Grand Sable Dunes is set aside as a Research Natural Area. For more information visit the website here.

Warren Dunes State Park
Sawyer
Warren Dunes has three miles of shoreline, six miles of hiking trails and is open year-round. It also has a dune formation that rises 260 feet above the lake with spectacular views and 1,952 acres of recreational opportunity. We have 221 modern & rustic campsites and three modern mini cabins. Visit the website for more information.

Silver Lake Sand Dunes
Hart, Mears and Pentwater
The Silver Lake Sand Dunes are a beach paradise! These massive dunes are nestled along the shore of Lake Michigan and Silver Lake —the only sand dunes in Michigan where you can drive your own ORV—and miles of pristine shoreline beaches designed for pure family fun. The Silver Lake Sand Dunes encompass the towns of Hart, Mears, and Pentwater making it the perfect spot for a family vacation with miles of tree-lined bike trails, historic towns, a lighthouse and more. Spend the morning on the dunes, the afternoon in the water and finish the day in one of the charming villages for a relaxing dinner at a locally owned restaurant. Visit the website to plan your trip.

Where’s your favorite place to visit the dunes in Michigan? Share with us below and learn more on michigan.org.

Beachtowns Fall Fun Itinerary

Sunset in Ludington

The nine Beachtowns along the west Michigan Lakeshore aren’t just summer destinations. The editors of Michigan Travel Ideas put together a fall itinerary to guide you in enjoying each beach town on a different weekend this season.

October 7–8, Ludington
Friday 10-2 p.m., Saturday 10-5 p.m.

Celebrate the harvest at Autumn Days, offering experiences in everything reminiscent of this fleeting season. Watch apples being pressed into cider, hop on a hayride and take a look at the past in the 29 museum buildings in the historic village. The Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor is serving up that perfect taste of fall—fresh baked apple pie.

October 15, Muskegon
Saturday 10-3 p.m.

Discover the vibrant colors of fall on the 7th Annual Depot to Depot Fall Color Tour. On the self-guided drive, see several historic and scenic sites; there is also a list of optional side trips. Make a weekend of it with the discounts offered at select lodging facilities and local businesses. Enter to win the Lake Express Ticket Contest and receive complimentary passes to various attractions.

October 22, Holland
Saturday 9 p.m.–1 a.m.

At the biannual GrooveWalk music event, 10 bands perform at 10 local bars for a night of live music and fun—each bar even has a featured drink. The free GrooveXpress buses stop near each venue, and each bus has its own musician on board to keep the beat going.

October 28–29, Grand Haven
Friday and Saturday 7-11 p.m.

Dare to walk through the Haunted Hall’s Experiments in Terror this Halloween. Admission gets you into both of their haunts: Phobia1a Proj3ct and Operat1on unr3ality. Prepare to be terrified.

November 5–6, St. Joseph
Saturday 10-4 p.m., Sunday 12-4 p.m.

HollyMarket is a great way to get a jump-start on holiday shopping. The annual art and craft fair features a variety of artwork, decor and holiday gifts arranged in the galleries of the Krasl Art Center.

November 11–13, South Haven
Friday–Sunday

Women are taking over for the annual Women’s Only Weekend. Events start Friday afternoon with the Wine and Cheese Welcome. Activities include a Harbor Walk, scavenger hunt and enrichment workshops.

November 18–20, Silver Lake Sand Dunes
Any time

A blanket would be the perfect accessory for cozying up on the beach to watch a beautiful Pure Michigan sunset at Little Sable Point Lighthouse.

November 25–26, Saugatuck
Friday and Saturday

A horse-drawn carriage ride provides the perfect pace to take in all the creativity this artist’s colony has to offer. Explore downtown Douglas and Saugatuck in a new way with this laid-back tradition. After your ride, the annual tree lighting ceremony takes place on Saturday at 5 p.m. in Wicks Park.

December 3, Harbor Country
Saturday, 1- 4 p.m.

Sample wines at the Holiday Open House at the Round Barn Winery. Kids can make holiday decorations and take photos with Santa.

 

Silver Lake Sand Dunes – the Thrill of a Lifetime!

Silver Lake Sand Dunes - Photo credit - Laurel Hess

Silver Lake Sand Dunes

Guest blogger Lauren Hess and her family recently took a trip to the Silver Lake Sand Dunes, and had an exhilarating ride on the dunes – the only dunes in Michigan where you are allowed to ride dune buggies.

Who would have thought that one of the most fun-filled and exciting weekend getaways I’ve ever been on would be just a three hour drive from Metro Detroit? On little more than a whim, I recently booked a long weekend stay in Silver Lake, on the west side of the state. It’s an extremely unique and underpublicized area that I will now be sure to recommend to friends, and return to again next summer. Continue reading